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Some quick food for thought

April 30, 2007

Hey, remember our big conversation on race? Oddly enough, one of the people I was talking about in class–the one that drops the n-bomb constantly and in fun & ownership–posted something on her blog about that very word. She has no idea about the class conversation; she was writing in response to–of all things–Harry Potter slash fiction.

Here are some of her comments. For the record, I believe she’s of African, Native American, and Italian descent, but I think I’m missing something in there.

“Am I the only one who did not know that squaw was really fucking offensive. Some are saying as offensive as the word nigger (and fuck you all the word is NIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGGERR not the fucking n-word). Honestly, how can a word be offensive as the word nigger if no one knows that? A word is not offensive if the person you are trying to offend doesn’t know they should be offended. At that point you just get stared at. I guarantee if I walk outside and call the nearest person squaw they will just stare at me. Where as if I instead went and called them a nigger, regardless of skin color, they will be fucking pissed.”

. . .

“The sooner we admit that there is a reason “niggers” are stereotyped as lazy fuckers, with no jobs, or hopes is the sooner we can get to work on the real problems faced by those of the chocolate skin. Because trust me when I tell you, as someone who has been called a nigger before, it isn’t the word that hurts it is the fact that it might be true.

Good god I hate this shit. This abhorrent idiocy is why I try to say the word nigger everyday and why I collect pejorative words. People need to grow up and move on. You wanna stop the “bad words”? Then fucking forget they exist, ignore them, destroy their power by making them nothing more or less then another sound coming out of your body. *sigh* But on the other hand I understand how this doesn’t always work. I understand how some words must be used with caution and you can be damned sure if I heard one of the kids saying the word nigger they would get a serious talking to. Why? Because unlike me, a grown adult, they don’t understand the fine shades of gray we live our lives by. They don’t know where that word comes from and what it can mean; until they do they don’t have the right to use it. Just like they don’t have the right to use any word they don’t understand because they will sound like fucking morons, and I’m not in the business of helping to raise moronic children. But here I am playing right into the hands of those who wish to control language (because that’s what PCism is – a form of control). I should encourage the kids to say words like nigger and fuck. I should make sure they do because then they’ll just be random sounds right? It doesn’t really work that way, though I wish it did.

All this annoyed little post boils down to is this: life is about living and having fun. Read and live and enjoy life don’t pick it apart! Sometimes stories aren’t nice or pretty. Sometimes authors are human and can say stupid shit without realizing they had offend people. Sometimes it’s better to write people in private because by doing it publicly you add gasoline to the flames. Because trust me in this, you have just added to the problem. Squaw is now one step further away from being just another word. Every person who reads this and every person who reads what you wrote and knows that it is not just another word is another person lost. Awareness is all well and good for a rare disease, but not so well and good for a rare cussword. I would be happy if in 100 years my children’s children’s children were calling each other nigger and it meant absolutely nothing. Well okay only half-happy. I’d be happy if they understood why all forms of bigotry are supremely stupid and used it because nigger became what it is – just another word.”

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